But what if I'm a mermaid? (deepbluemermaid) wrote in little_details,
But what if I'm a mermaid?

GSW to the chest (to order) and handguns

Setting: 2011, Honolulu, USA. It's pretty much our world, with added werewolves.

The character, S., is a fit, healthy Navy SEAL in his 30s (yes, this is Hawaii Five-0 fanfic) who in my story is a werewolf. Lycanthropy gives him faster healing and greater physical resilience, but this is a closely-guarded secret and not known to the doctors treating him.

My questions mostly concern the plausibility of my scenario. Some details can be glossed over, since the story's narrated by a shocked and scared civilian with limited medical knowledge. I'd like to be accurate, if possible, but I'd settle for not making readers roll their eyes!

Gun questions

Someone shoots S. once at fairly close range (maybe 20-30 feet at most) with a handgun; S. is not wearing a protective vest of any kind, and suffers a serious chest injury.

The gun: The shooter, X, is not a trained killer or professional criminal. X is using a handgun that he originally bought, possibly even legally, for domestic self-protection. He knows how to use it, but he's not an expert marksman.

I've read various gun-related sites which have confused the hell out of me (I have no experience with firearms, and handguns are rare in my country). One guide suggested that a revolver was a popular choice for civilians, rather than a pistol, but I've also seen suggestions that pistols are now more common in US households.

Any advice on a typical handgun for keeping in one's home would be appreciated, please.

The bullet: 9mm seems like a pretty standard calibre, so I might go with that. I'd prefer that the bullet stay inside S.'s body, and do enough damage to require surgery. But it needs to be recovered intact (not fragmented), for ballistics purposes.

My research suggests that a hollow point bullet is what I need. The question is, would X have bought that type of ammo originally, if he planned to keep the gun in his home for self-protection? Would he have trained with that ammo at a firing range, to keep his skills up?

Medical questions

The injury: I was thinking of a chest wound leading to the collapse of his right lung, broken ribs, a fractured scapula and severe blood loss. Thanks to his advanced healing capacity, he can suffer nasty damage - the bullet could nick an artery, perhaps, or lodge in an organ like the spleen? - but still pull through with few long-term consequences.

S. also hits his head on asphalt when he collapses, so he should at least have a concussion too (I don't want any serious neurological damage, though).

He will get to the hospital in good time, and receive immediate expert care.

The consequences: ideally, for plot reasons, I'd like S. to be:

a) awake and able to speak for at least a couple of minutes after being shot

b) kept alive partly by his partner's first aid efforts (fashioning a three-sided bandage for the sucking chest wound from plastic kitchen wrap and tape, and then keeping pressure on it using a wadded-up shirt)

c) in surgery for at least 2-3 hours

d) unconscious or sedated for at least 2 days after undergoing surgery

e) intubated, or otherwise unable to speak, for at least a couple of days after he initially wakes up. I've read that patients on a ventilator are usually kept sedated since having a tube in one's throat feels so awful, so I figure that the standard sedative level might prove insufficient due to him being a werewolf. He will be sedated again with a stronger dose after being awake for a few crucial minutes, and be mostly unconscious from then until the tube is removed.

f) able to leave the hospital (AMA, if necessary) one week after being admitted, free of any chest tubes or IV lines. He could promise to hire a private nursing agency to provide care at home, if that would help. I'm thinking that my werewolves can heal up to twice as fast as humans, so would a normal healthy guy with these injuries be ambulatory / able to check out within two weeks?

So, kind and knowledgeable people, please tell me: are any of these plot points utterly impossible, laughably unlikely, or mutually exclusive?


- google (variations on 'handguns', 'self-defense', 'gunshot wound', 'sucking chest wound', 'intubation', etc)
- Wikipedia articles (ballistic trauma, handguns, 9mm, chest wounds, chest tube, pneumothorax, hemothorax, intubation, etc)
- I've looked at all little_details entries tagged "medicine: injuries: gunshot wounds", plus some of "medicine: injuries to order" and "weapons: firearms"
- I've also read parts of two free ebooks: Di Maio, Gunshot Wounds and Dodd, Terminal Ballistics, though I had some trouble understanding them.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
Tags: ~medicine: injuries to order, ~medicine: injuries: gunshot wounds, ~vampires witches and werewolves oh my, ~weapons: firearms
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